Picturesque village

Make yourself comfortable with a good scare

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This list of comfortable horror reads was originally published in our horror newsletter, The Fright Stuff. register here to get the latest and greatest from the world of horror!

If you’re reading this newsletter, I’ve just been buried alive under an actual mountain of snow, and I’m probably somewhere between “dig, dig for your life” and a three-act one-woman theater performance by Stephen King. Misery. Ah, life in New England.

In fact, what I probably spent my stormy Saturday day doing was reading. Big Nor’easters aren’t really good for much except staying low and staying out of the snow. The best thing to do when they start issuing storm warnings is to grab a warm blanket, a hot drink and a good book. So whether you’ve also been snowed in this weekend, or just need a bit of comfort for a lazy day, why not lean on the spirit with a bit of cozy horror!

The Dead Whispers by Darcy Coates

The Whispering Dead (first in the Gravekeeper series) is what you’d get if the quintessential cozy mystery had a baby with a ghost story. It comes with a slightly run-down but adorable cottage; a strangely intelligent stray cat; and a memorable cast of small-town supporting characters. While it’s not the kind of scary that will have you shaking in your seat, The Whispering Dead is always chilling as Keira investigates the murder of a young woman and uncovers a dark secret at the heart of this sleepy, unassuming town.

cackle cover by rachel harrison

Cackling by Rachel Harrison

Just in time for Halloween last year, cackle is the perfect marriage of all things cozy horror. When Annie’s entire life is turned upside down by her ex, she decides to take a teaching job in upstate New York and ends up moving into the perfect apartment in a friendly, quaint little town. Everything seems to be off to a good start, especially when she meets Sophie. Beautiful and charismatic Sophie, who lives in a massive old house in the woods and whom no one in town seems to trust. From cute little town shops to forest walks and farmers markets, to ghosts, witchcraft, murder and a bit of mayhem, cackle he has everything. Plus, Rachel Harrison made me find an adorable pet spider, and honestly, I don’t know what subgenre other than cozy horror could pull that off.

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu

Although more atmospheric than downright spooky, moon cakes is the perfect read if you miss those fall Halloween thrills. If you’re looking for dark autumn nights, witchcraft, demons, werewolves, and strange love, you can’t go wrong with this beautiful graphic novel. Nova Huang is a witch from a family of witches and works in her grandmother’s bookstore in a small town in New England. Tam Lang, Nova’s childhood crush, used to live in the same town, but she hasn’t been back in years. So Nova is surprised to find that rumors of a white wolf in the woods lead her to Tam, who is locked in a battle with a demon. Dark magic and occult rituals serve as the backdrop to Nova and Tam’s budding romance as they work together to uncover the source of the evil threatening their town.

This Poisoned Heart by Kalynn Bayron

This Poisoned Heart by Kalynn Bayron

Maybe it’s an excess of plants that my brain finds comfortable? The very idea of ​​a grand old run-down estate surrounded by its vast gardens fills my brain with joy. Especially when one of the gardens contains only the deadliest plants in the world. Comfortable murder. This is the very setting where Briseis finds herself spending the summer, in the property of her deceased aunt. There, Bri hopes she will learn to control her extraordinary gift: the ability to grow plants from seed to full bloom with the push of a hand. As she embarks on creating tinctures and elixirs for those who come home seeking help, Bri meets Marie, a young woman who keeps dark secrets and knows more about the estate than she does not say so.

cover of ghost squad by claribel ortega

Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega

There’s just something inherently comfortable about mid-level horror. Probably because it can be very scary, if not downright scary at times, but it doesn’t go as strong as some YA or adult horror and it tends to end on a high note while emphasizing the themes of the family and friendship. In Ghost squad, Lucely Luna and her best friend Syd must unite with Syd’s witchy grandmother and her adorable cat to fight off a host of malevolent spirits that Lucely has accidentally unleashed on St. Augustine. This delightful mid-level horror is exactly what I’m talking about when I refer to the emphasis on family and friendship. Any chance that Lucely, Syd, Babette and (the aptly named tabby cat) Chunk will have to save their town rests entirely on the bonds between them. MG Horror is perfect for comfortable horror reading, as it can give you real stakes to invest in, but you have the assurance that everything will be fine in the end.